After a year and a half of recapping Once Upon a Time for Heroes and Heartbreakers, I find that the real attraction for me isn't the love story of Snow White and Prince Charming. Instead, the reason I watch is the draw of the Mr. Gold/Rumplestiltskin character brought to life by actor Robert Carlyle.
He's referenced as the dark one, and yet there is a spark there! Deep in that black heart of his he knows what love feels like. It's obvious when he talks to Belle, Emma, and Henry. Combine that with his maniacal behavior, chittering laugh and outlandish costumes and you have hit GOLD!
So now lets look at some other baddies from television, film, and books we unabashedly love.
Sir Guy Gisbourne (BBC's Robin Hood, played by Richard Armitage)
He's insecure, not too smart, and motivated to get ahead by doing practically anything Prince John tells him to do. He does some really despicable things, but the torture is read in his eyes, deep pools of regret and dishonor. What is he really looking for? Acceptance and love? Tell me, what women doesn't want to fix that? Let's not forget all his leather outfits too; who knew Sir Guy was a goth?
Severus Snape (Harry Potter Series, played by Alan Rickman in the films)
Okay, yeah, he's whiny, surly, and completely controlling, and he has a real dislike for the junior Potter (or does he?). He never smiles, is never happy, and takes pleasure in the misfortune of others. But Snape sees the greater good and acts accordingly. He's a difficult character because he always gives you a reason to dislike him—and yet we love him. He is by far my favorite character in the HP series.
Damon Salvatore (The Vampire Diaries, played by Ian Somerhalder)
Damon likes to kill...A LOT. In fact, he seems to take great pleasure in it. He is fiercely loyal to his brother Stefan, became best friends with Rose, and, well, this latest development of falling in love with Elena makes him just good enough to like, but he's still damn bad.
Eric Northman (True Blood, played by Alexander Skarsgard)
Eric is a complex character. When he's first introduced, he's undoubtedly bad. Only interested in blood, sex, and power, Eric wields his minions in all kinds of power plays just to show them who's boss. Then Sookie appears and eventually melts his cold heart and we see a different side of him.
Zsadist (Lover Awakened, Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J. R. Ward)
Another killing machine, Zsadist takes pleasure in other people's fear and pain. Tortured as a youth, this vampire is as broken as they come. Zsadist is the loose cannon of the brotherhood. Then he meets Bella, another broken vampire, and she reaches his soft gooey center. The thing I love about Zsadist is he has kept his tortured unpredictability intact, but now he's just showing his heart.
So here are my top baddies—all of these boys have done evil deeds, and yet we still love them! Do you have a special evil genius that you love? Do tell!
Bad to the Bone runners up:
- Terrible from the Downside Series by Stacia Kane
- Xan Marcelles from the Crooked Fang series by Carrie Clevenger
Special thanks to my co-bookseller and partner in crime Holly Lawson for television character suggestions. You rock, Hol!
When she’s not herding cats or creating art, she works as a part-time bookseller. You can find her on twitter as @psynde.